Gaffer: Deserved Portsmouth win – but I’d make one change for Checkatrade Trophy final against Sunderland

Gaffer for a Day, Lewis O’Donnell, aged 23 and from Waterlooville, reflects on Pompey’s 2-0 victory at Shrewsbury.

Sunday, 24th March 2019, 12:56 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th March 2019, 1:01 pm
Ben Close was Pompey's man of the match at Shrewsbury, according to Gaffer for a Day Lewis O'Donnell. Picture: Joe Pepler

Thoughts on the game?

It was scrappy against a Shrewsbury side fighting for their lives, but in the end Pompey were dominant and deservedly got the win.

The way the Shrews started was a bit worrying, they were on top and reminded me of last year when they won 2-0 after dominating.

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We got back into the match, though, and I thought the introduction of Oli Hawkins for Omar Bogle made a difference. It definitely worked, Hawkins did well.

I have seen better displays from us, but we were comfortable in the second half and it’s always good to get a win.


Is there a chance of automatic promotion?

I would say it is possible, I certainly wouldn’t bet against it.

There are still 21 points to play for and, looking at the fixtures, I believe we can get wins from most of them. Then we are hoping for Barnsley to slip up.

That’s three victories in a row now, all we can do is keep on winning and trying to match Barnsley and Sunderland.

Every game is a dogfight, nothing but wins will do us now. We must keep that momentum.


Who was your man of the match?

Craig MacGillivray went back to his former club and produced that first-half save which kept us in it.

But Ben Close gets my vote, he’s a player coming on in leaps and bounds.

He has always been talented, but kept passing back and wasn’t providing anything going forward. Now he turns, runs and moves it ahead, while getting shots off.

Close is one of our own and it’s great to see him doing so well. He got the breakthrough goal against Shrewsbury and we definitely needed that at the time.


Would you change the team for Wembley?

Hopefully Ronan Curtis is able to be involved and, if he is, I would select him against Sunderland in the Checkatrade Trophy final.

If he’s fit, he must go straight back into the team in place of Gareth Evans.

I really rate Curtis. He’s had a couple of bad games, but so does every player. He’s very passionate and gives his everything.

He could be the match winner against Sunderland, he’s that sort of player.


Craig MacGillivray 9

Nathan Thompson 8

Christian Burgess 8

Matt Clarke 7

Lee Brown 7

Tom Naylor 7

Ben Close 9

Gareth Evans 9

Brett Pitman 9

Jamal Lowe 9

Omar Bogle 8